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Easy SPM Summary Writing Steps - Story Passage (SPM 2008)

Hi kind folks!
In SPM English Examination Paper, summary writing gives a total of 15 marks. 10 of the
marks go for contents while 5 for language. It is actually fairly easy to score at least 10
marks in summary writing provided you know the tips and techniques. Don't worry, I'll
share with you 5 simple steps.
Before that, bear in mind, although the question gives 10 marks for content, there are
usually more than 10 points given in the text suitable for your summary. So, you can
actually have more than 10 points in your summary but the full mark for content will still
be 10.
Easy SPM Summary Writing Steps
Read and understand the question. Identify the key words in the question.
Cross out the unnecessary texts of the passage given.
Identify the key points in the text related to the keyword and underline them.
Read and understand the key points. Choose the best points related to the summary
question.
Write down your summary. Use linkers and complex sentences to score marks in
language.
Okay, the points may seem quite general (like who don't know that you need to identify
the key words, right?) So, we will go through a few types of passage and try to
summarise the passage using the Easy SPM Summary Writing Steps.

The first one, A story passage.

If you get a story passage then it is pretty much easier for you, yay! That's because a
story will have characters and usually the summary is about the characters' action.
Thus, here's what we should do to tackle a story passage summary writing.

The story is about a professional hunter of wild animals being attacked by a leopard.

FIRST: Read and understand the question. Identify the key words in the question.

Picture 1

As you can see in Picture 1, the question has 2 Points. The first is how the leopard
attacked the writer and the second is what he (the writer) did to save himself.

Since this is a story passage, as I mentioned earlier, we need to identify the characters.
As highlighted in orange, there are 2 characters being 1- the writer and 2- the leopard.

The one highlighted in yellow are the points required by the question while
the green colour is the necessary parts. For now let us take a look
at Green and Orange.

SECOND: Cross out the unnecessary texts of the passage given.

Okay, read the information in Green. It says use materials from lines 13 to 37. (For
those who don't know, the numbers on your right are the lines and on your left are for
paragraphs) So what we have to do is draw a line under line 13 and above line 37. Then
we cross out what is not needed. The result will look like this.

Picture 2

There you go. From a long passage, you are now left with a shorter version to focus on
and summarise. Psychologically, this will help us tend to the task better as there are
less words and it looks so much easier.

THIRD: Identify the key points in the text related to the keyword and underline them.

After we know which part to focus on, the next step is to identify the characters
(the orangekey words in the question). I have done this as well but instead of
underlining, I highlighted the characters. Here comes the knowledge of pronouns to be
tested.

For the writer. We can highlight the word 'I' in the text. (Since the text uses 'I'. If the text
uses He or She then go for that)
For the leopard. There are a few choices in the text such as 'The leopard', 'the creature',
'the animal' and 'it'.

For beginners, I tell them to just underline all the characters-related words you can find.
After that only we filter them. So, here is the highlighted version of the text.

Picture 3

From Picture 3 you can see that there are PLENTY OF CHOICES! for students to
choose as content for their summary. I did this purposely to show that no students
should hand in empty paper because identifying the key words is actually very easy!

FOURTH: Read and understand the key points. Choose the best points related to the
summary question.

Here comes the more challenging part of summary writing. We have identified ALL the
key words in the text (in this case, the characters). Now, we need to read the questions
again and identify the key points. As highlighted in yellow in Picture 1, the 2 key points
are: 1- How the leopard attacked and 2- What the writer did to save himself.

Reading from these points in the question can help us understand that the points
involveactions. Actions by the leopard to attack and actions by the writer to save
himself. Hence, the fourth step for us is to identify, from ALL the key words we have
highlighted in orange, which are suitable to be used as content points for the question.
How to know? First is by understanding the text or if it's too hard, just select the key
words that comes together with a suitable action verb. How? Like this following
example.

Picture 4

Allright, in Picture 4 you can see I have highlighted the points. The ones in yellow are
the points related to the leopard's attack and those in green are the actions of the writer
to save himself. Here the knowledge of vocabulary and identifying verbs are tested.

If you count, there are 13 points suitable to be used as content. You can choose to use
all 13 or select 10. It's up to you but don't forget, never go beyond 130 words including
the 10 words given.

FIFTH: Write down your summary. Use linkers and complex sentences to score marks
in language.

The last step is to write down your summary. Don't forget to use the 10 words given in
the question. And use linkers to score at least 3 marks for language. Linkers like
secondly, thirdly, then, next, furthermore, moreover, after that and so on. However,
please do not forget to change the word 'I' for the writer with 'He' when you write the
summary.
Let's take the first few points and write a simple 'copy paste' summary using suitable
linkers.
Example: He realised he was being attacked by a leopard when the leopard leapt onto
its back. Secondly, the leopard claws at his back. Then, he still managed to gather
enough strength to roll over. Next, the creature had grabbed his right shoulder and
became more aggressive. Furthermore, it started shaking me vigorously... (and so on)

Reading the example, I actually copy and pasted most of the words from the text but I
join them using linkers. This should be easy for students with limited language skills
because they can just copy and paste the points identified. If they score more than 8
correct content points, they may get at least a 3 for language. Add that up it becomes 11
out of 15. Not too bad huh?

For those who want to score perfect marks, we will cover it up in another article, okay?
Until then, Man Jadda Wajada, practice, practice and practice. :)

Footnote:
This summary question is taken from SPM Examination Paper 2008.
This is not the real answer scheme so it may differ from the official answer scheme.

Easy Descriptive Writing Steps: 'My School'

Hello happy people!


English is about equipping ourselves with the four skills of reading, writing, listening and
speaking. As of writing, it is one of the most important aspects to be tested in
examination in Malaysia. Writing carries the most marks in exam.
Apart from exam purposes, writing can also be a unique and useful way to express
oneself. For teachers, how do we teach writing effectively? From my little experience in
teaching English to second or foreign language learner, I find out that teaching writing is
about supplying the students with step by step guidance, questions and sentences as
the contents for their essay.
Many students find it hard to write in English. It's not something odd actually. Many
students find it hard even to write in their mother tongue! What more a foreign language
like English, right? So, in this entry I'm going to share one method I use to help students
write a descriptive essay entitled 'My School'.
Before, here's some background of my students. They want to write essay in English
but they do not really know what to write. Often, they do not know the words in English.
Most of the time, they are not sure of the correct grammatical structure. And if I just give
them the title, usually they fail to write anything because they have 'no idea'.
In order to tackle this problem, here's what I do:

Easy Descriptive Writing Steps


Decide how many paragraph you want in your essay and decide the key points for each
of your paragraph. Normally we write in 5 paragraphs. (Introduction, Body 1, Body 2,
Body 3 and Conclusion)
Use WH-questioning method to brainstorm. (Who, Why, Where, When, Which, How...)
Use the sentence structure in the question to construct proper sentences. (Useful for
students with limited language)
*Use 5-Senses method to brainstorm descriptive style of writing. (Sight, Sound, Smell,
Taste & Touch)
**Add in proverbs, idioms, phrasal verbs for more variety in writing.
FIRST: Decide how many paragraph in the essay and decide the key points for each
paragraph.

We decided on the normal 5 paragraphs approach. For this essay, I suggested a few
key points. Then we decided as a class to focus on the following key points.

Introduction - Overview of the school (Give an overview of the school)


Body 1 - Friends (Write about their friends at school)
Body 2 - Teachers (Write about their teachers at school)
Body 3 - School buildings (Write about any school building)
Conclusion - Your Feelings (Express their feeling for being a student there)

*You can have many more key points for the paragraph such as Clubs, Societies,
Representing the School, Teacher's Day Celebration, Exam Day, The Happiest Day,
The Day I will not forget etc etc etc (the list is actually endless!)

SECOND: Use WH-questioning method to brainstorm. (Who, Why, Where, When,


Which, How)

This is a very important strategy to brainstorm. We ask questions about what we want to
write to think of suitable points. As my students needed extra guidance, we did a
classroom brainstorming session and decided on suitable questions:

Introduction - Overview
What is the name of your school?
Where is it located?
Is it a big or small school?
How many years have you been in the school?
What is the name of your class?
Body 1 - Friends

How many best friends do you have?


What are the name of your best friends?
Where do they live?
Why do you like them?
How have they helped you before?
Body 2 - Teachers
Who are your favourite teachers?
What subject do they teach?
Why do you like them?
Body 3 - School buildings
What building does your school have?
What do you do in the building mentioned?
Where do you normally hang out during recess?
Do you like your classroom?
What do you like about your class?
Conclusion - Your feelings about being a student here.
How do you feel now?
How do you think you will feel when you have left school?
How do you want to feel when you come to school to get exam result?
THIRD: Use the sentence structure in the questions to construct proper sentence.

I like to show my students that they can lift sentence structure in a question and use it
as their sentence. I give many examples such as.

Q1 - 'What is the name of your school?' can be lifted and turned into 'The name of my
school is...'

Q2 - 'Where do you normally hang out during recess' = 'I normally hang out at the
canteen during recess.'
Q3 - 'Why do you like them' = 'I like them because...'
Q4 - 'How have they helped me before' = 'They have helped me before by...'

This is not a 'fit for all' model but I figure that when I learnt in high school, relating
sentence structure from the question and using it as the answer can make it easier for
me to write the sentence correctly. Through this practice, I learnt to observe the patterns
too and with many practices, students may gain more confidence in their writing ability.

Thus, as a teacher, we can always guide them by giving them these questions, not only
to brainstorm but also to be used as their own sentences.

FOURTH: *Use 5-Senses method to brainstorm descriptive writing style

In a classroom, the level of the students may vary. For weaker students, the first 3 steps
should be enough as practice for their writing. For students who want more, I expose
them to the 5-Senses method. Asking themselves if they can imagine any of the 5
senses (Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste and Touch) in their writing.

In example, in Body 2, they can ask more questions related to the 5 senses.

Body 2 - Teachers
How can you describe their appearance? (Sight)
How do they smell? What kind of smell from their perfume? (Smell)
Is their voice loud or clear enough? (Sound)
From this approach, students who want to go beyond the first 3 steps, they can work on
their own using this guide. The teacher can then go around the class to facilitate
individual students, supply vocabulary or help them brainstorm.

FIFTH: **Add in proverbs, idioms, phrasal verbs for more variety in writing

This is also an extra step for the students. Teacher can give examples of relevant
proverbs, idioms or phrasal verbs such as:
Laughter is the best medicine - When describing why they like to laugh with their
friends.
Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner anywhere - When talking about the
importance of learning at school.
As easy as ABC
Bookworm
Crack a book
Cut class
Make the grade
and so many more...
When I taught one or two proverbs, idioms or bombastic words and the students use
them in later essay assignment, I find it to be thoroughly satisfying for me.

Usually, I will use 30 - 40 minutes for this kind of lesson, to brainstorm and prepare
students for the writing. Then, I will either let them write for another 30 - 40 minutes in
class with me facilitating or I give it as homework (Where they get to do more research
and have more time to spend on the writing)

Admittedly, writing in a foreign language can be a very demanding task. Yet, when
explained, prepared and divided the task in steps, the writing will appear more
achievable. That is the task of the teacher, to carry students through the process of
writing while equipping them with necessary vocabulary, sentence pattern and language
to be used in their writing.

Try to write this essay and let me know of any feedback! And I will share some of the
writing from my students later on too.

Till then, Man Jadda Wajada, practice, practice and practice!

Easy Information Transfer Steps (SPM 2008)

Hello endless learners.


For SPM students, Information Transfer in Section B - Paper 2 is one of the places
where you should score full marks. This section is actually very-the-very easy to answer
as the only thing you need to do is 'find the keywords'.
Using the real SPM 2008 questions, let us try to unlock the tricks to answering this
section and getting your full mark of 10 over 10. Simply follow this step by step guide.
Ready? Let's go!
Easy Information Transfer Steps
Read the questions first and identify the keywords you need to get your answer.
Read the text/ diagram given and try to find matching keywords.
The answer is normally in the same sentence as the keyword you found in the text/
diagram.
FIRST: Read the questions first and identify the keywords you need to get your answer

First part of the question

So there are 10 questions from number 16-25. Let's take a look at the first part which is
a diagram. The article is about The History of The Olympics. In the question, students
need to fill in answer (to be taken from the text) on the differences between Ancient
Olympics andModern Olympics (as underlined in red).
I've highlighted 3 key words in the questions being Competitors, Prize and Purpose of
the Games.
SECOND: Read the text/ diagram given and try to find matching keywords

First part of the text

From the underlined Ancient Olympics and Modern Olympics, I have zoomed in the
second and third part of the passage. Then I examined the text to find the keywords.

The keywords found for Competitors is compete and for Prize is winner. Meanwhile for
Purpose there is no direct keyword but students need to understand the meaning of
purpose.

THREE: The answer is normally in the same sentence as the keyword you found in the
text/ diagram

Let's look at the section Ancient Olympics.


Competitors - compete without clothes (The word compete helps you find the answer
without clothes)

Prize - winner/ a crown of olive leaves (From the word winner, student can find the
answer which is a crown of olive leaves as the prize)
Purpose of the Games - to honour Gods in Greek mythology (To get this answer,
student must understand the meaning of purpose)
Now, look at the section Modern Olympics.
Competitors - women to compete along with men (The answer is in the same sentence
as the keyword compete)
Prize - winners / Medals/ Gold Medals/ Silver Medals/ Bronze Medals (From the word
winner, student can find the answer which is medals as the prize)
Purpose of the Games - unites the world (To get this answer, student must understand
the meaning of purpose.)
Okay, we have found the answers for question 16 to 21. Next, let us have a look at the
second part of the question, 22 - 25.

Second part of the question

Right, again, I have identified 4 keywords from the 4 questions which are:
Logo
Five colours/ represent

Meaning/ Olympic motto


Traditional Custom/ Remains

Second part of the text

If you observe the text, all of the keywords we have identified can be found in the last
part of the passage. So, from the keyword, students should be able to identify the
answers as the following:
Logo - The Olympic Rings
Five Colours/ Represents - The unity of five continents
Olympic motto/ Meaning - "swifter, higher, stronger"
Traditional Custom/ Remains - the lighting of the Olympic flame
Thus teachers, the only thing left for us to train our students is how to find the keywords
and match them appropriately. Only some questions may deviate and need further
understanding of words or text but most of them will give direct answers.

For very weak students, they may not know which part of the text to select although
they have found the keywords. Let them copy the entire sentence if it is not too long
(less than 5 words).

There you go, this guide actually shows how easy it is to score in Information Transfer
Section. Students who read English materials constantly should be able to score a 10.
On the other hand, weak students if they know how to spell and match the keywords,
they should be able to get at least 6 marks.

Footnote:
*This question is taken from the real SPM 2008 Paper 2 under Section B.
*This is not the real answer scheme.

Easy SPM Reading Comprehension Steps (SPM 2008)

Aloha!
It feels great to write another entry on how to easily answer SPM Reading
Comprehension questions! As we know, comprehension questions in Section C - Paper
2 of SPM gives a total of 10 marks. Many students may find the text intimidating or
worry they lack enough time to really understand the text.
Well, for students with limited language skills, here's how you should tackle the
comprehension questions. If you do it correctly, you may find it easy to locate the
answers. Why? Simply because the answers are all in the text! (Maybe only 1 or 2
questions which may ask for your opinion, in this kind of question, you have to give your
own answer)
Easy SPM Reading Comprehension Steps
Read the question first! And identify the key words in the question.
Match the question with the paragraph.
Locate similar key words in the paragraph, the answer is normally in the same
sentence, next to or before it.

Let's give it a try on the same text which we did our summary earlier (<--- click to read
awesome SPM summary tips!) taken from SPM Examination Paper 2008 - Paper 2 Section C (Reading Comprehension) and observe how we find the answer from similar
key words.
FIRST: Read the question first! And identify the key words in the question.
My advice for students who find it difficult to read quickly and understand the whole text
is tonot attempt to read the entire text before reading the questions. Instead, you can try
reading the question first and identify the key words in the text. For example (We will
use some questions from real SPM Examination Paper 2008):
26. From paragraph 1, where does the writer hunt? [1 mark]
In the question above, I have highlighted the key words I found which are 'where' and
'hunt'. The part highlighted in green is very important as it shows which area of the text
you need to focus on to get the answer.
SECOND: Match the question with the paragraph.
The question says 'From paragraph 1', so to find answer to this question, look at
paragraph 1. Pretty straight forward, right?
THIRD: Locate similar key words in the paragraph, the answer is normally in the same

sentence, next to or before it.


We have identified the key words 'where' and 'hunt'. Now look at 'paragraph 1' and
locate similar key words. Here's the text in paragraph 1:
I have spent 20 years hunting wild animals in the Sarawak jungles. The leopard is one
of the most unpredictable animals I have ever come across. A cunning animal, it will
change its direction for no obvious reason. Although I had faced numerous encounters
with ferocious creatures, none scared me the way the leopard did, the day it attacked
me. (Paragraph 1)
It is quite a lengthy paragraph for weak students. Yet, fret not! Since we have identified
the key words in the question which is 'where' and 'hunt'. Look for similar key words in
the paragraph as highlighted above. From the text you can find the word 'hunt' in the
first sentence and the answer to 'where' is also in the same sentence which is Sarawak.
Let's try to answer all the other questions in this Reading Comprehension paper too,
aite?
27. From paragraph 2,
(a) what had happened to the farmers' livestock? [1 mark]
(b) "... that was the worst mistake of my life." (Line 9)
(i) What was the mistake? [1 mark]
(ii) Why was it a mistake? [1 mark]
Paragraph 2
On January 24, a goat was killed at a nearby farm. Two weeks earlier, farmers had
reported missing livestock. A leopard had been seen around the area at dusk. On that
very day, fifteen experienced men volunteered to track it. Before the hunting party
arrived, I went out to look for the tracks. Without a thought, I left my rifle in the
car and that was the worst mistake of my life. Unarmed, I was exposed to danger.
(Paragraph 2)
In paragraph 2, you can obviously find the word 'livestock', the answer to it is 'missing
livestock'. Then the answer to 'what' and 'why' was it a mistake can be found in the
same sentence and in the next sentence as highlighted above according to the colours.
28. From paragraph 4,
(a) what threw the writer off the balance? [1 mark]
(b) which word means fell? [1 mark]

Then it happened. The leopard leapt onto my back. I heard nothing when it hit me as it
happened very fast. The impact was enough to set me off balance. For a moment I felt
dizzy, as it the surroundings were spinning. I could not make sense of the things around
me. They seemed to be blurring. Before I realised it, I slumped onto the ground with the
leopard clawing at my back. I could faintly hear the grunting from the leopard. Although I
could feel sharp pain all over my back, I still managed to gather enough strength to roll
over. My sudden action took the creature by surprise - I had caused it to let go of me
and I was free for a short time. (Paragraph 4)
The key word off balance help us to find the answer which is the impact. Students can
also copy the entire sentence as answer (provided the sentence is not too long)
Meanwhile, 28(b), you will need vocabulary knowledge or try to guess which is the most
suitable word. The answer here is 'slumped', with the phrase 'onto the ground' indicates
something falling on the ground.
29. From paragraph 7,
(a) what made the young man rush to the scene? [ 1 mark]
(b) why did the young man hesitate to shoot? [1 mark]
A young man, who was a member of the hunting group, was scouting the area.
Suddenly, he heard a loud growl. Sensing someone in danger, he rushedtowards the
scene. He stood hesitatingly about three metres away from the leopard, not knowing
whether he could shoot accurately. Frantically, I yelled at him to move nearer. Bang!
The first shot went off target. Then the second shot hit the leopard in the spine. This
time he did it. There was a loud growl before it went limp. Seeing the lifeless animal
next tome me, I was overcome with relief. (Paragraph 7)
The key words 'rush to the scene' help students find the answer 'sensing someone in
danger' which is in the same sentence. The key word 'hesitate' is changed to
'hesitatingly' but it still help students find the answer 'not knowing whether he could
shoot accurately' for the question.
30. In your own words, give two reasons why do you think the writer felt sorry for the
leopard. [ 2 marks]
For questions like number 30, it asks for your own opinion, basically, any relevant and
suitable answer will be accepted here. So, do not leave this empty instead try to write
suitable answers such as 'the leopard is also a living thing', 'the leopard is hungry', 'the
writer is kind-hearted' and so on based on the key words from the question.
In conclusion, this reading comprehension leads us to few important notes!

The key words in the question is usually mentioned in the paragraph either using the
same word, or with different grammatical structure or synonymous word. (livestock livestock/ hunt - hunting/ off the balance - off balance/ hesitate - hesitatingly)
Do not leave any question unanswered. The answer is kind of explicit once you know
how to identify suitable key words.
The answer is normally in the same sentence with the key word found in the paragraph.
If you are not sure which part of the sentence to choose as the answer, copy the whole
sentence as answer (Provided the sentence is not too long - Do not copy more than 1
sentence!)
Let's count using this question as example, even if the students simply identify key
words and copy the sentence with key words as answer, they will get these questions
correct:
26
27 (a)
27 (b) (i)
28 (a)
29 (a)
29 (b)
Add all together, this section will give the student (who only find key words and copy the
sentence with the key words as answer) a total of 6 out of 10. A better student will have
no problem to score at least 8.

One more thing, if you notice in this article, we only look at 4 paragraphs (para 1, para
2, para 4 and para 7) but we can still find answers to all the questions. There are
actually 8 paragraphs altogether. Therefore, it is also a good way to save time by using
these Easy SPM Reading Comprehension Steps, read questions first - identify key
words in questions - match key words in paragraph - find the answer.

Until then, Man Jadda Wajada, practice, practice and practice!

Footnote:
This text is taken from SPM Examination Paper 2008
This is not the real answer scheme.
This is just answering technique. Those who want to master reading in English still need
to read a lot of English materials to be proficient.

Reading Comprehension:
1. Read the summary question first (Question 31) before they read the passage
in Section C. The summary question normally allows students to get some ideas
of what the passage is all about. It is an advantage for weak students to know the
general idea of the passage before they read it. Do not write the summary first
but after reading the summary question, read the passage and answer all the
comprehension questions.
2. Read the passage paragraph by paragraph. After reading each paragraph,
they should read and try to answer the question that is based on that paragraph.
By doing so, the you will be more focused in finding the correct
answer. Differentiate a word and a phrase. So, if there is a question asking for a
word, they must only write a word for their answer. On the other hand, if you are
supposed to write a phrase, they must only write down a group of words which is
not a complete sentence such as uncomplicated delivery or indispensable part
of our lives. Similarly, if the question requires you to write words as the answer.
3. Make sure not to lift the whole sentence. In short,you must aware of the
differences of these terms: word, words, phrase and sentence.